An Amazing Discovery
Recent finds in the Great Pyramid – mysterious anomalies termed “voids” – by teams of scientists using subatomic particles called muons have aroused an enormous amount of interest worldwide. As might be expected, many questions have been asked: such as whether the voids were merely spaces and hollows within accumulations of rubble, or whether they could be secret chambers hidden within the pyramid, perhaps concealing the lost mummy of Khufu himself.
A find made in early March 2023 seemed to make the idea of a hidden chamber more of a possibility.
A Japanese endoscope revealed a hitherto unknown 30-foot section of corridor near the entrance to the pyramid. The walls were rough and the space was bare: nevertheless, the mere existence of the passage hinted at other, perhaps even more impressive, discoveries in the future.
But commentator and author Scott Creighton asks whether the find could also hint at a connection with mediaeval pyramid legends, and, in particular, the legend of Saurid, believed in mediaeval Egypt to have been the builder of the pyramids. As he explains repeatedly in an online forum:
If we accept the ancient Egyptian Saurid Legend as to why the pyramids were built as being based more in fact than legend, then the answer as to the purpose of this enigmatic space behind the original entrance of G1 becomes self-evident.
The Lost Civilisation
Scott Creighton’s recent assertions form only one of many offshoots of the key proposition made by writer and presenter, Graham Hancock, i who, with other proponents of alternative history, surmises that there was once an ancient, but technologically advanced, civilisation – now lost – that preceded our own. ii
One of the mainstays of this thinking is the proposition that, contrary to the accepted view, the Great Pyramid of Egypt – or, at least, its original foundation – was constructed in a much more remote era, and merely renovated in the mid-3rd millennium by King Khufu. It is hardly suprising, therefore, that the alternative history school of thought has generally tended to look favourably on any suggestion supporting this view, as in the work of Zecharia Sitchin, Alan Alford, Scott Creighton and others. iii
And, equally unsurprisingly, such writers are frequently vociferous in their support for anything that might oppose mainstream theories. For instance, one important piece of evidence for the belief that Khufu built the Great Pyramid – as averred by ancient authors such as Herodotus – was the discovery of King Khufu’s cartouche name in 1837 by the English explorer, Howard Vyse, in the topmost of the five relieving chambers in the Great Pyramid. The subsequent work of researchers such as Lepsius, Kurt Sethe and Ann Macy Roth showed that cartouche names formed an element of the names of the teams of the skilled workers who built the Great Pyramid, and the placement of the names provided important insight on AE labour organisation methods.
However, from the early 1980s onwards there have been increasing objections to the validity of Vyse’s discovery and its significance. Sitchin was one of the first to suggest that Vyse had actually forged the cartouche name: and, later, it was even claimed that there was an eyewitness to the forgery (despite subsequent investigation showing the baselessness of this assertion).
But a further important piece of evidence supporting the theory that Khufu ordered the construction of the Great Pyramid was the find in 2013 of crumbling, but still partly legible, papyri at the ancient port of Wadi el-Jarf, detailing the day-to-day activities of ships’ crews transporting blocks from Turah to Giza during the time of Khufu. There are, however, those who refuse to believe that the evidence of these papyri was proof of the idea that Khufu was responsible for the Great Pyramid, and they continue to argue that the King was simply rebuilding an earlier construction. iv
This “renovation” proposal was ultimately based on certain mediaeval legends passed down during the Arab invasion and occupation of Egypt in the 1st millennium AD. The question then was whether these legends had any basis in fact: in which case, they might constitute evidence for a much older origin for the pyramids.
The 1st millennium AD in Egypt was an era highly conducive to the generation of legend. The real link with the past had been lost, as had the ability to read the hieroglyphic script. This meant that there was a great vacuum of information, a vacuum slowly filled with all sorts of legendary and imaginative material.
The development of such legendary material has been examined by blogger and author Jason Colavito, both in blog articles on his website and in a book published in 2021. In line with the work of other researchers, he identifies three main forms of this group of legends: v
- the first, based on Manetho’s King List;
- the second, tales associated with the Koranic history of Egypt;
- and the third, the so-called “Hermetic” history of Egypt, mainly concerned with the time before the Flood (which plays an important part in these legends). vi
The last form, the “Hermetic,” is probably of most interest to us, as one of the figures who takes centre stage is Surid (or Sūrīd, Saurid, or Sourid: the name by which Khufu was known to the inhabitants of Egypt in later times).
Broadly speaking, the purport of the Surid legends is that, three hundred years prior to the Deluge, Surid, terrified by a dream portending the end of the world, ordered the construction of the pyramids as shelters of all ancient Egyptian knowledge and wisdom.
Surid and the Great Pyramid
One of Colavito’s sources was the work of an earlier researcher, Alexander (Sandor) Fodor, who, in 1971, wrote a paper entitled “The Origins of the Arabic Legends of the Pyramids,” vii in which he:
… speculates that late antique Hermeticism and Gnosticism, under pressure from Orthodox Christianity, developed the myth as a way of explaining how their ancient wisdom could be coequal in antiquity with or even older than the Judeo-Christian scriptures and have survived the flood that otherwise destroyed everything.
But how old was the earliest version of this legend? Colavito explains that:
Fodor assumes that Coptic Christians wrote the underlying text of the Sūrīd story around the fourth century CE, based on a somewhat older Gnostic or Sabean original featuring Hermes. viii
Evidently, the date is extremely difficult to pin down. But, as Fodor states elsewhere, although the legend could have begun in the 5th century, ix the date of its earliest appearance is impossible to establish, despite the fact that the legend was very similar to another that could not have pre-dated the 3rd century AD. x
Attempts to date the legend were not helped by a misleading claim made by the 17th century mathematician, John Greaves, in his Pyramidographia, about a 9th century Arab author called Ibn Abd al-Hakam) (a contemporary of the Abbasid caliph, al-Ma’mun, the first in the modern era to break into the Great Pyramid). This led to many people wrongly concluding that the Sūrīd story must date to the eighth or ninth century: xi although Colavito argues that al-Hakam had no knowledge of the Surid tradition (2021: 114).
The longest and most detailed account of Sūrīd – although probably based on earlier sources – appears in the text known as the Akhbar el-Zaman, perhaps composed some time between the 10th and 12th centuries by the author al-Masudi. Colavito has translated the French version (translated by Carra de Vaux), in which the story of Sūrīd appears about half-way through. It describes how, trying to create a refuge from the threatened apocalypse:
… the king ordered the construction of temples and great monuments, for himself and his family, in order to safeguard their bodies and all their riches, which they would deposit within …
Then the king ordered the construction of the pyramids, and when they were completed according to his wise plan, he transported to them the wonders and treasures of his people and the bodies of ancient kings.
The 12th century Egyptian History by the Arabian author Murtadi (or Murtada), containing accounts of popular traditions associated with the pyramids, was translated into French xii in the 17th century by Pierre Vattier, and then from French into English by John Davies. Sadly, the original Arabic work has been lost, so the closest we can now get to that original is the translation by Vattier. Colavito references the Davies version in his article on the Egyptian History:
The Priest having thus spoken, the King commanded them to take the heights of the Stars, and to consider what accident they portended. Whereupon they declared that they promised first the Deluge, and after that Fire. Then he commanded that Pyramids should be built, that they might remove and secure in them what was of most esteem in their Treasuries, with the bodies of their Kings and their Wealth, xiii and the Aromatick Roots which served them; and that they should write their wisdom upon them, that the violence of the Water might not destroy it: wherein they presently set themselves at work. The Egyptians relate in their Annals, that Saurid is he who himself caused the Pyramids to be built; xiv
A later work, Al-Khitat, written in the fourteenth century by al-Maqrizi, is described by Colavito as “the most significant collection of medieval Arabian and Coptic pyramid lore ever assembled.” It contains the following account of Surid:
He completed the pyramids with talismans, wonders, wealth, and idols, and he deposited within them the bodies of kings.
In the East [Great] pyramid’s rooms were executed representations of the sky and the stars, and they were crammed with statues of the ancestors of Surid, xv perfumes which were burned for the planets, and the books that concerned the table of the fixed stars and the table of their revolution in the course of time, the list of events of past eras under their influence, and when they must be examined to know the future of everything about Egypt until the end of time.
So, if the legend is to be taken at face value, in precisely which chambers were the bodies and/or statues of ancient kings placed?
The nature and extent of possible robberies and despoliation of mummies and treasure that took place in the three principal pyramids of Giza, and the Great Pyramid in particular, can never be known for sure. All that remains in the Great Pyramid today is the sarcophagus in the King’s Chamber, the damage to one of its sides bearing mute witness to the violent removal of what is believed by many to have been Khufu’s mummified remains.
So were the mummies and statues mentioned in the legends seized by the robbers as well? Or, as Creighton argues, could they still be awaiting discovery? If another hidden chamber, or chambers, was or were located and opened up, would the mummified remains of Khufu’s forebears finally be revealed?
While we await the answers to those questions, perhaps we could enquire who these ancestors of Surid (or Khufu) might have been.
Creighton claims to have the answer:
… we are told in some texts that there were once a number of statues standing in the Grand Gallery – 27 kings & queens – alternating and facing each other (that’s what the 27 pavement notches and inset holes on each side were for). These were the Ka statues for each king and queen’s mummified body that lay above in the Big Void.
… the proof of this is pending and will only be conclusively proved one way or the other when we finally get an endoscopic camera into the Big Void. There, imo, will be discovered not just one, but twenty-seven AE kings and their queens – Saurid’s (aka Suphis/Khufu’s) ancestors. That’s what the Saurid legend tells us was done.
… the Big Void will, imo, be found to contain the actual mummified remains of Khufu’s 27 ancestor kings and their queens – one king and queen for each Ka statue that was once in the GG [Grand Gallery].
… we are told that Saurid (aka Suphis/Khufu) placed the bodies of his ancestors within the Great Pyramid. We know the number of notches and inset holes in the pavements of the Grand Gallery – there are 27 on each pavement, alternating between larger and smaller (larger for the kings’ statues and the smaller notches for the queens’ statues – see image in post above).
Is it just coincidence then that this number matches the number of Khufu’s ancestor kings (and their queens)? Why would there be one statue for each king (and queen)? I suggest because their religious practice insisted upon it i.e. Ka (surrogate) statues set in place for each king (and queen) should the actual mummified body of the king/queen (up in the Big Void) decay beyond recognition for its ka. If there was no Ka statue for the body and the body decayed beyond recognition for its Ka, then the Ka would be ‘lost’ and die and the king would suffer and eternal death. This dad [sic] to be avoided at all costs as these ancestor kings were the ones that could intercede with the gods to bring about the rebirth of the kingdom. If they perished then there could be no rebirth. Hence why, imo, the AEs ensured they were placed somewhere that would protect them against the deluge and also against a permanent death (ka statue).
Creighton supplies a list of all the kings whom he believes are at present concealed within the Big Void: as mentioned, twenty-seven of them, all from the first four dynasties. The following is a selection of some of the better-known kings on Creighton’s list :
But even the most cursory of searches will reveal that each of those ten kings has a putative burial place (e.g., Djoser has the Step Pyramid, at Saqqarah), even if subsequent investigation has shown the burial place to be empty, as in the case of Sekhemkhet; or of doubtful identity, as in the case of Sneferu. xvi
So, if at least ten of these ancient kings were already comfortably reposing in their own tombs, is it likely that Surid/Khufu would have excavated and removed their mummified remains to place them in some mysterious, as yet undiscovered chamber, in the Great Pyramid, with a view to them somehow helping to regenerate the country after the apocalypse?
If Surid did not do this, it would mean that the number of ancestors to be supposedly housed in the Great Pyramid would be reduced to no more than seventeen.
But Creighton insists that the mummies were indeed re-interred:
I … propose that Khufu’s mom (Hetepheres I) was removed from her temporary burial at Giza (along with many other ancestors of Khufu) and re-interred within the Big Void chamber after it was completed.
So, according to Creighton, within the Big Void will be found:
… twenty-seven AE kings and their queens – Saurid’s (aka Suphis/Khufu’s) ancestors. That’s what the Saurid legend tells us was done.
But where does any version of the Saurid legend say precisely how many ancestors were placed in the Great Pyramid?
We’ve just seen that the Akhbar al-Zaman, and Murtada’s History, claim that within the pyramids were placed the bodies of [ancient] kings and their wealth; while a third version (from Al Khitat) states that the Great Pyramid’s rooms were chock-full of statues of Surid’s ancestors.
There is admittedly a difference between “bodies” and “statues” of kings: but, to repeat, where does any version of the legend give a specific number of kings, whether statues or mummies, and whether seventeen, twenty-seven or any other quantity?
There is no reference anywhere to any set number.
And there is another problem. Creighton clearly states that his view:
is simply that the “time of Khufu” (i.e. Khufu himself) was much earlier than the ca.2,500 BC timeline that Egyptologists believe…
But precisely how much earlier?
The Blue Sun of Illiantia and the Pillars of Xhallir
In 2007, Creighton claimed that, “some 12,500 years ago,” a devastatingly cataclysmic cosmic explosion – its ultimate cause the so-called Blue Sun of Illiantia – occurred (or, at any rate, might have occurred). At that time, this was recognised as a cyclical event, and efforts were later made by survivors of the cataclysm, directed by an elite group known as the Guardians, to encode a message of this cyclical event within the architectural and geometrical layout of the Giza pyramids, to serve as a warning for succeeding generations. Meanwhile, the Great Pyramid itself incorporated within its structure a “Recovery Seed Vault” – that is, a storehouse whose contents would “reboot” agriculture for the survivors. xvii
Presumably, then, according to Creighton’s 2007 thinking, Khufu/Surid, builder of the Great Pyramid, must have lived in some era subsequent to 10,500 BC, but still long before 2,550 BC, the time generally accepted by Egyptologists for his death.
In 2014, Creighton made a statement that, at first sight, seems a re-affirmation of his previous hypothesis:
… the evidence of the Turin Canon, the Palermo Stone and even the writings of Manetho all tell us that the AE civilisation is tens of thousands of years older than Egyptology claims …
But with the following startling addition:
… new evidence I have uncovered at Giza leads me to conclude that the monuments there (as well as the other early, giant pyramids) were built ca.19,000 years ago.
Does this mean Surid/Sophis/Khufu existed then?
The answer supplied by Creighton was:
But just when did Surid live, then? How could the world have been destroyed by cataclysm 12,500 years ago, and the pyramids built subsequent to that, if they actually had been built (by the command of Surid) 19,000 years ago? How could Surid have lived 19,000 years ago, and also built pyramids subsequent to a cosmic cataclysm 12,500 years ago … ?
Creighton, however, has an explanation. In 2012, five years after the first iteration of his cosmic cataclysm proposal, he described the Illiantia/Xhallir narrative as not only hypothetical, but obviously fiction.
This of course left the way open for the more sensational date of ca. 17,000 BC, publicised in 2014 (and also 2015), to be inserted into his narrative.
But there is a further problem, one that must be glaringly evident to his readers, even if not to Creighton himself.
As mentioned earlier, he proposes that Surid re-interred the mummified remains of his ancestors within the Great Pyramid.
These remains included, amongst others, those of the 3rd Dynasty ruler, Djoser. If Creighton’s latest proposed adjustment of ancient Egyptian chronology applies, therefore, Djoser must have lived in an era pre-dating Creighton’s very ancient Surid (ca. 17,000 BC).
And, indeed, there have been recent scientific which seem to demand a revision of Djoser’s dates:
… radiocarbon data indicate that … the reign of Djoser in the Old Kingdom started … earlier than some previous historical estimates.
Unfortunately for Creighton’s proposals, however, the new dates place Djoser somewhere between 2691 and 2625 BC, and not 14,500 BC. xviii
To sum up: Creighton believes that the architecture and geometrical layout of the Giza pyramids embody a warning to later civilisations about a cyclical cataclysm. Later confessing that this was a fiction all along, he has now abandoned his first proposed date of that cataclysm – some 12,500 years ago – in favour of an earlier date of 19,000 years. So the pyramids at Giza must have been built subsequent to one or other of these dates, but still many millennia before the standard mid-3rd-millennium construction date.
For this reason, Creighton cannot accept the presence of work-crew names in the relieving chambers of the Great Pyramid – designations incorporating the cartouche name of Khufu – as authentic, despite the investigations of researchers of the calibre of Lepsius, Sethe, Reisner and Roth. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he continues to argue that the crew-names must have been forged by Colonel Howard Vyse, and cannot be taken as reliable evidence of a mid-3rd millennium construction date by a mid-3rd millennium king.
In tandem with his endeavours to demonstrate the validity of the forgery claim, he has also been trying to show, as previously mentioned, that the discovery of some form of void-like anomaly by particle physicists from Nagoya University, Japan, and most lately the 30-foot section of corridor, in the Great Pyramid, also both fit into his own scheme of things: i.e., that there was a super-ancient Surid/Khufu whose constructional exploits were embodied in a super-ancient tradition that has somehow survived through the ages. He does not accept that the Surid legend is largely a product of mediaeval Egypt. Problems of internal logic – such as how his ideas of a super-ancient Surid could fit in with other proposals of a later Khufu merely renovating the Great Pyramid – are left unaddressed.
As far as Creighton and his followers are concerned, therefore, possibly only further discoveries in the Great Pyramid will fully resolve the question.
Until then, Surid must be left looking sadly out across the Giza plateau for his missing ancestors …
[Author: Thanks to Doug Weller and Martin Stower for comments and suggestions.]
iv “ … while a substantial portion of the three large pyramids at Giza were most likely built during the Old Kingdom, they were most likely built atop much older foundations …” (Preston Peet) New Claims About The Great Pyramid, Citing The Oldest Papyrus Ever Found: Do The Claims Stand Up?
v On his website, Colavito provides partial translations of some of the Surid legends.
vi Colavito 2021: 78.
viii Colavito 2021: 100.
ix Fodor, Sándor (1971) Arab legendák a piramisokról. Kőrösi Csoma kiskönyvtár (10). Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest: 127.
x Fodor 1970: 361.
xi In recent times, a new MS of al-Hakam’s Futūḥ Miṣr has been discovered; but it has not been possible to establish whether this particular MS might contain any account of the Surid legend (Wright, C. J. . A Rare Find The Süleymaniye’s Futūḥ Miṣr, Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, 4 (1), 110-129.)
xii L’Égypte de Murtadi, fils du Gaphiphe, ou il est traité des Pyramides, du débordement du Nil, & des autres merveilles de cette Province, selon les opinions et traditions des Arabes / de la traduction de Pierre Vattier … Sur un Manuscrit Arabe tiré de la Bibliothèque de feu Monseigneur le Cardinal Mazarin. Author : Ibn al-ʿAfīf, Murtaḍá ibn Ḥātim ibn al-Musallam (1154-1237). Publisher : Lovys Billaine (Paris) Publication date : 1666 Contributor : Vattier, Pierre (1623-1667). Traducteur.
xv (Ch. 40.) The French version (Bouriant, 323) has “… il fit remplir les pyramides de talismans, de merveilles, de richesses et d’idoles; il y fit déposer les corps des rois …”, and “où étaient entassés ce qu’avaient fait les aïeux de Sourid en fait de statues …” Description topographique et historique de l’Égypte, traduite en français par V. Bouriant. 1re et 2e partie / Maqrizi ; traduite en français par V. Bouriant Author : Maqrīzī, Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī Taqī al-Dīn al- (1364-1442) Publisher : E. Leroux (Paris) Publication date : 1895-1900 Contributor : Bouriant, Urbain (1849-1903). Traducteur.
xviii Ramsey C., Dee M., Rowland J., Higham T., Harris S., Brock F., Quiles A., Wild E., Marcus E., Shortland A. (2010), Radiocarbon-Based Chronology for Dynastic Egypt, Science 328 (5985), pp.1554-1557: 1554; Table 1, 1556. Miroslav Bárta, Egypt’s Old Kingdom In: The Oxford History of the Ancient Near East. Edited by: Karen Radner, Nadine Moeller, D. T. Potts, Oxford University Press (2020). 5.1.